There have been many historic events and appearances on all three stages at Carnegie Hall throughout its 121-year history. Recently, however, there was a sense of history quietly folding in upon itself when a group of middle school students emerged onto the Zankel Hall stage. One of those sixth graders was Andrew Carnegie Miller, the great-great-grandson of the man whose vision and money built the Hall and whose name it has officially carried since 1894. Carnegie, himself, appeared on stage at least nine times—the most significant of which was the National Arbitration and Peace Congress of 1907—but his great-great-grandson's February 2 appearance marked the first time a member of the Carnegie family has performed music in the building.
Andrew Carnegie Miller in the Rose Museum, 2013 | Andrew Carnegie on the main stage during the National Arbitration and Peace Congress of 1907. Photography: Carnegie Miller by Stan Schnier for the Dwight School, NYC; Carnegie courtesy of the Carnegie Hall Archives.
In fact, Andrew Carnegie Miller's connection with Carnegie Hall begins much more recently than with his great-great-grandfather. In February 1996, Carnegie Hall held a reception to launch an exhibition of Beethoven's piano sonatas in the Rose Museum. The Beethoven-Haus in Bonn and Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna had, for the first time, loaned $65 million worth of manuscripts and first editions. Kenneth Miller—Andrew Carnegie's great-grandson—was one of the invited guests that evening. At one point, he asked his date for the night to accompany him onto the stage in the big hall. There, on one of the world's grandest platforms, he took the opportunity to propose to her. She accepted, they married, and became Andrew Carnegie Miller's parents.
Shortly after his appearance at the Hall, we spoke to Andrew.
Carnegie Hall: Hello, Andrew. Can you tell us your age and what grade are you in?Andrew Carnegie Miller: I am currently 12 and in sixth grade at the Dwight School.
CH: What's your favorite subject in school?ACM: Math—I like to be challenged.
CH: What kind of music do you like?ACM: I don't know enough music to pick a favorite.
CH: What songs and artists do you have on your iPod at the moment?ACM: I currently don't have an iPod, but I'm planning on getting one if my parents allow.
CH: What music were you and your classmates performing at Carnegie Hall?ACM: We were performing "Hallelujah" by Leonard Cohen, "La rose complète and "Dirait-on" by Morten Lauridsen, and the spiritual "Walk Together Children."
CH: Were you aware beforehand of your family's connection with the Hall?ACM: Yes, I was fully aware of the connection, but we don't talk about it a lot at home.
CH: Did your classmates know about the connection?ACM: A few knew, but when I told them about it they didn't really believe me. They asked me why I didn't live in a mansion.
CH: How does it feel to know that if it were not for your great-great-grandfather, Carnegie Hall would not exist?ACM: It makes me proud. He wanted the city to have a good symphony hall. You get to follow your passion if you're a musician.
CH: When did you see Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage for the first time?ACM: I did not get to perform in it this time, but I did see it when I went to hear the author of Harry Potter talk.
CH: Which musician/band/artist would you love to see live at Carnegie Hall?ACM: Ms. Zambetti—my music teacher—took me there. I'd like to see her students perform there more. Some of them are really talented.
CH: Thank you, Andrew Carnegie Miller!
Related: Hall History